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Dating After 50: Tips for Improving Conversation

Copyright © 2014 AARP All rights reserved.

When you begin to date again after 50, one of the first areas you’ll want to brush up on is your conversation skills. Starting a conversation with someone you barely know is always a bit awkward. It's hard to know what will lead to mutual interest. There are some graceful ways to get conversation flowing; here are some ideas:

  • Talk about things that interest your date. You really need to know how to talk to someone. If you've talked or read a profile already, bring up subjects you know this person is interested in. Make sure you get to cover something meaty.

  • Talk about a variety of subjects. Not all your sentences should start with “I,” and not all your stories should be about yourself. Pull out some subjects that contain both of your interests; for example, if your date is a chess player, and you are too, start talking about chess.

  • Be a good listener. When people are nervous, they have a tendency to either clam up or not know how to turn off a torrent of words.

    One way to know you're listening is to ask the other person questions about herself.

  • Don't forget to use a little chemistry — after all, this is an interview for a date, not for a job. If you're attracted, show it, albeit in a subtle way. Hold eye contact, smile, and lean forward. Show you have emotions and sexuality.

    It's one thing to show that you're attracted; it's another to come across as a leech or someone desperately trying to be a femme fatale. Avoid the extremes and just flirt a little, not a lot.

  • Avoid being controversial on this first meeting. You may have political differences, but there's no reason to take them on immediately — unless that's an extremely important aspect of how you choose someone to be in your life.

    Even then, you can find out someone's opinion and state your own without getting into anything inflammatory. Raising the temperature at the table is exhausting and unnecessary. You also don't want to close something down before you get a chance to know who this person is in other important realms of your life.

  • Whatever you do, leave your ex out of this. Talking about the person who deserted you, or whom you left, or who was the light of your life, is never a good idea.

    It's easy to start talking about an ex even if you don't want to because your date may bring up her terrible divorce or breakup. Best thought: Nip it in the bud and change the topic. You'll be doing both of you a favor.

  • Save the bad news for later. No one needs to know your hospital record or your job problems when you're just getting to know each other.

This first date is still an interview, and you may not get another chance to talk to this person if it doesn't go well. So try to be your most interesting, warm, and compelling version of yourself. Have fun!

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